National Geographic Announces Best Travel Photographs Taken in 2017

National Geographic has counted up the votes for their contest of “2017 Travel Photographer of the Year.” This is a yearly contest where diverse people from around the world take pictures of exciting adventures, natural wonders, extreme weather conditions, or just anything else that looks stunning.

Over 15,000 travelers submitted pictures to National Geographic for the contest. The judges have gone through the pictures and have announced winners in the categories of cities, people, and nature. A Mexican resident named Sergio Tapiro Velasco won the grand prize after taking a photograph of a lightning striking down from a cloud of volcanic ash. In the nature category, this photo got 1st place.

In the category for cities, a Hungarian resident named Norbert Fritz won 1st place for a photo that has been called “Levels of Reading.” In the category for people, a Turkish resident named F. Dilek Uvar won 1st place for his “worship” photograph.

First place winners received $2,500; Second place winners received $750, and third place winners receive $500. The grand prize winner and one of their guests get to go along with National Geographic Expeditions on a 10-day journey to the Galapagos Archipelago.

1. Grand Prize Winner: The Power Of Nature, Rancho De Aguirre, Colima, Mexico

A powerful eruption illuminates the slopes of Mexico’s Colima Volcano on December 13, 2015. I was in the town of Comala when I suddenly saw incandescence above the volcano’s crater and started shooting. Seconds later, a powerful volcanic explosion expelled a cloud of ash particles and a massive lightning bolt illuminated most of the dark scene. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.

national geographic travel 2017SERGIO TAPIRO VELASCO

2. Honorable Mention, Nature: Forest Of The Fairy, Tamba, Japan

In a remote village in the Tamba region of Japan, twinkling fireflies light up the Forest of the Gods on a summer evening. The fireflies carpet a stairway leading to a small shrine revered by the local people, creating a magical atmosphere.

national geographic travel 2017Y. TAKAFUJI

3. Honorable Mention, Nature: Marble Caves, Chile

My dad and I traveled to Patagonia earlier this year, and we wanted to see something off the beaten path. After a 10-hour drive and traversing a long, dirt trail, we finally came upon the marble caves. We chartered a boat to take us closer, and I waited for the perfect light to capture these intricate blue swirls. The extra effort it took to reach the caves was worth it.

national geographic travel 2017CLANE GESSEL

4. People’s Choice Winner, Nature: Buff Tailed Coronet, Ecuador

A buff-tailed coronet feeds on flower nectar in the Ecuadorian forest, a paradise for hummingbirds.

national geographic travel 2017HYMAKAR VALLURI

5. Third Place Winner, People: Under The Wave, Tavarua, Fiji

I recently traveled to Tavarua, Fiji, with professional surfer Donavon Frankenreiter and captured this image at Cloudbreak. The usual surf shots have all been done, so we decided to get creative and looked for new angles and perspectives.

national geographic travel 2017RODNEY BURSIEL

6. People’s Choice Winner, Cities: Colorful Market, Bangkok, Thailand

As night falls over Bangkok, Thailand, rows of rainbow-colored market stalls come to life.

national geographic travel 2017KAJAN MADRASMAIL

7. Second Place Winner, People: Interesting Moment, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

A crowd of spectators stands in front of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. As I observed the scene I laughed when I realized that the people in the painting also appear to be curiously watching the visitors. I managed to take two shots before the audience moved away—one is out of focus, but this one was perfect.

national geographic travel 2017JULIUS Y.

8. Third Place Winner, Cities: Henningsvær Football Field, Henningsvær, Nordland, Norway

In Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the Henningsvær football field is considered one of the most amazing in Europe. This photo was taken during a sailing trip from Tromsø to the Lofoten Archipelago. After a week of cold and rainy weather, the sky finally cleared up enough to fly my drone. We were absolutely astonished to learn that the entire football field is heated, so after lying down and soaking in the warmth, I launched my drone and took this photo from a height of about 390 feet (120 meters).

national geographic travel 2017


9. First Place Winner, People: Workship, Konya, Turkey

Beams of light filter through a historic building in Konya, Turkey, where a whirling dervish performs an ecstatic dance. The ceremony represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent towards truth and love, and represents the constant revolution of all living things. For example, the Earth itself is in a state of rotation as well as the atoms that make up everything on it.

national geographic travel 2017F. DILEK UYAR

10. Honorable Mention, Nature: Mt. Bromo, East Java, Indonesia

Mount Bromo is a small but active volcano on East Java, Indonesia. On January 17, 2016, I was nearby when an increase in seismic activity triggered an alert. This photo was taken from the patio of a local hotel, where I was waiting with my camera. Just as the volcano erupted, the ashes seemed to glow with light. This photo is very special to me—a rare eruption of Mount Bromo with excellent lighting.